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March 11, 2014 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO -- A Republican state senator has put on hold his request for a formal audit of the state's troubled unemployment insurance program. Sen. Anthony Cannella of Ceres said he took the action after meeting with representatives of the administration of Gov. Jerry Brown. "I have been assured that the EDD (Employment Development Department) has the resources to remedy the problems the people of California experienced in receiving unemployment insurance payments over the past year," Cannella said.
March 10, 2014 | By David Lazarus
Valerie saw the recent reports about a fatal crash in Southern California involving a wrong-way driver, and she got to thinking about car insurance. Specifically, if a crime is committed as part of an accident, does your insurer still cover things? ASK LAZ: Smart answers to consumer questions It's a fair question. Auto coverage is predicated on your being a lawful and safe driver -- at least as much as possible. So if you total your car or, God forbid, harm someone while, say, driving drunk or on the wrong side of the road, what are your insurer's obligations?
March 9, 2014 | By Chad Terhune and Eryn Brown
A pair of new drugs to treat hepatitis C offer a cure for millions of Americans afflicted with the disease - but at a potentially staggering cost to taxpayers and health plans. Until now, therapies for hepatitis C helped only about half of patients and posed numerous side effects, such as flu-like symptoms, anemia or depression. In comparison, clinical trials of Sovaldi and Olysio have shown cure rates of 80% to 90% with far fewer complications. That progress, though, comes at a price.
March 9, 2014 | Liz Weston, Money Talk
Dear Liz: I just received my tax forms from my employer for last year. I was originally a W-2 employee, paid hourly, as a receptionist. But it seems that at some point during the year, my employer changed me to a 1099 employee without telling me or having me fill out paperwork. After researching the characteristics of a 1099 employee, I found I do not qualify at all. I am upset that I will have to pay taxes on this income, since I thought they were being withheld from my pay. Do I have any recourse?
March 7, 2014 | By Michael Hiltzik
In a debate almost totally infected with myth, perhaps the most tenacious myth about the Affordable Care Act involves the tsunami of old insurance policies that were supposedly canceled by insurers because they didn't comply with the ACA. How many policies? The figures are all over the place -- some say 17 million, some say 4.7 million. The implication is also murky -- however many cancellations happened, were all these people left without insurance? Two experts at the Urban Institute have crunched the best numbers we have, and their conclusion is that 2.6 million policies were canceled because of noncompliance with the ACA -- but that more than half the policyholders were eligible for subsidized, low-cost replacement insurance.
March 6, 2014 | By Veronica Rocha
A Glendale man accused of killing his estranged boyfriend  to collect on his life insurance policy was ordered to stand trial Wednesday on murder charges. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Hayden Zacky ruled that sufficient evidence was presented during a three-day preliminary hearing to move forward with a trial against Hovanes Maskovian, 34, as well his brother Hachik “Kriss” Maskovian, 29, and a friend, 20-year-old Nazaret “Nick” Bayamdzhyan, the Glendale News-Press reported . “I think I am convinced as to what occurred,” Zacky said in a San Fernando courtroom.
March 5, 2014 | By Noam N. Levey
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration announced Wednesday that some Americans with health insurance policies that don't meet consumer standards set by the president's new healthcare law would be allowed to keep their plans into 2017, three years later than originally envisioned. The delay, which could put off the final cancellation of some health plans until after President Obama leaves office, may have limited practical impact. Senior administration officials, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity, said they believed that only about 1.5 million consumers nationwide currently were covered under such plans, about 500,000 of which were purchased by individuals and the rest by small businesses.
March 4, 2014 | By Lisa Mascaro
WASHINGTON - In a rare moment of bipartisanship, the House voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to roll back flood insurance rate increases that have devastated many homeowners in coastal communities and dogged lawmakers on the campaign trail. The deal, brokered by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) with a bipartisan coalition of coastal state lawmakers, sailed through the House, 306 to 91, despite protests from conservative Republicans that the changes would add to the national debt. "It is said by the media and others that we cannot work together," Waters said before the vote.
March 3, 2014 | David Lazarus
There are a lot of really unfriendly consumer contracts out there. But the absurdly worded terms and conditions for AT&T Mobile Insurance, the company's coverage for wireless devices, take corporate meanness to a whole new level. Marianna Yarovskaya thought she was being smart when she recently purchased AT&T's insurance to safeguard the new iPhone 5S she bought before an overseas trip. "With AT&T Mobile Insurance," the company's website says, "you can protect your investment and get a replacement device quickly to keep you connected.
March 2, 2014 | By Lisa Zamosky
Peter Altschuler's back surgery had been a long time coming. The 66-year-old marketing professional and actor from Santa Monica slipped a disc about 10 years ago, and he's been coping with it ever since. A series of injections kept him pain-free for years, he said, but by 2012 they stopped doing their job. "I was in constant discomfort," he says. His doctors said it was time for surgery. Although old enough to qualify for Medicare, Altschuler held on to an insurance policy he'd had through a professional association before turning 65. As most health plans do, his insurer required him to obtain prior approval for his procedure.
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